Page:1888 Cicero's Tusculan Disputations.djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
13
ON THE CONTEMPT OF DEATH.

very great assembly. These things perhaps you dread, and therefore look on death as an eternal evil.

VI. A. Do you take me to be so imbecile as to give credit to such things?

M. What, do you not believe them?

A. Not in the least.

M. I am sorry to hear that.

A. Why, I beg?

M. Because I could have been very eloquent in speaking against them.

A. And who could not on such a subject? or what trouble is it to refute these monstrous inventions of the poets and painters?[1]

M. And yet you have books of philosophers full of arguments against these.

A. A great waste of time, truly! for who is so weak as to be concerned about them?

M. If, then, there is no one miserable in the infernal regions, there can be no one there at all.

A. I am altogether of that opinion.

M. Where, then, are those you call miserable? or what place do they inhabit? For, if they exist at all, they must be somewhere.

A. I, indeed, am of opinion that they are nowhere.

M. Then they have no existence at all.

A. Even so, and yet they are miserable for this very reason, that they have no existence.

M. I had rather now have you afraid of Cerberus than speak thus inaccurately.

A. In what respect?

M. Because you admit him to exist whose existence you deny with the same breath. Where now is your sagacity? When you say any one is miserable, you say that he who does not exist, does exist.

A. I am not so absurd as to say that.

  1. So Horace joins these two classes as inventors of all kinds of improbable fictions:

    Pictoribus atque poetis
    Quidlibet audendi semper fuit {{subst:ae}}qua potestas.―A. P. 9.

    Which Roscommon translates:

    Painters and poets have been still allow'd
    Their pencil and their fancies unconfined.